Australian wheelchair basketballer and Griffith University design student Matt McShane will represent Australia at the Paralympic Games, which kick off in Rio on 7 September.
“It was an awesome feeling to be chosen to represent Australia,” he said.
“I’m so excited for what the next month has in store.”
At the age of 18, the Gold Coast student was stuck down with the neurological condition transverse myelitis, which causes inflammation of the spinal cord and led to Matt spending nine months in hospital and the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Matt is part of the Australian Rollers wheelchair basketball team that qualified for Rio after winning a gold medal at the recent Asia Oceania Zone qualifying tournament in Japan.
Call up to Australian Rollers squad
Matt was called up to the Australian squad in November 2014, and this will be his first Paralympics.
“I have spent the past four years working towards this, and there has been a lot of hard work involved,” he said.
“But I can’t wait to play some of the best teams and test myself against some of the best players in the world.”
Matt trains six days a week, travelling to Brisbane from his home on the Gold Coast.
As well as competing at an elite level, he is also in his third year of a Bachelor of Industrial Design degree at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.
Griffith University Professor of Industrial Design, Dr Jennifer Loy, said that Matthew was ‘an inspiration’.
“He is an amazing guy,” she said.
“It is a tough sport and he is an inspiration.
“Matt is a wonderful representative of Griffith.”
Matt admits wheelchair basketball wasn’t on his radar after his world changed forever.
“When I ended up in a wheelchair, I had just finished an apprenticeship and was more than content to spend my life as a tradie,” he said.
“It took a lot for me to go to university and it was by far the smartest thing I’ve ever decided on.
“I truly love this degree and it is great that I have been able to work towards my study goals while succeeding in my sport – it means so much to me.”